Appendix to Preface

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Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 2, 1515-1518. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1864.

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Appendix to Preface.

A Book of Receipts, with the signatures of T. Darcy and A. Darcy.
For the new sweating sickness which was the 20th year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth.—"Take endive, sowthistle, marygold, m'oney and nightshade, three handfuls of all, and seethe them in conduit water, from a quart to pint, then strain it into a fair vessel, then delay it with a little sugar to put away the tartness, and then drink it when the sweat taketh you, and keep you warm; and by the grace of God ye shall be whole."
"For the same.—Take three large spoonfuls of water of dragons, and a quarter of a spoonful of fine treacle of Gean, and half a nutshellfull of unicorn's horn scraped small, and a quarter of a spoonful of fine good powder of maces, and make all that same hot, and so let the patient drink it, and keep him well, neither over hot nor over cold, but whole in his arms and feet, and let him keep him by taking clothes off him by little and little, till he be dried up, and let him use wholesome meats, and by the grace of God he shall not perish. Probatum est of my Lord Darcy and 30 persons in his house all in peril."—f. 92.
A special medicine for the pestilence.—"Take half an handful of rew, called herbe grace, a handful marygold, half an handful fetherfew, a handful sorrel, a handful burnet, and half a handful dragons, the top in summer, the root in winter; wash them in running water, and put them in an earthen pot, with a pottle of running water, and let them seethe soberly to nigh the half be consumed, and then draw aback the pot, to it be almost cold, and then strain it into a fair glass and keep it close, and use thereof morn and even, and when need is oftener; and if it be bitter, delay it with sugar candy; and if it be taken afore the pimples break forth, there is no doubt but with the grace of Jesu it shall amend any man, woman, or child. Probatum est, ao 13 H. VIII."—f. 43.
"A medicine for the pestilence, sent to my Lord Darcy from the Menery, from my Lady Whethyll.—My Lord, in my best manner I recommend me unto your Lordship, and very sorry I am of your great heaviness. My Lord, the cause of my writing to you at this time is to advertise your Lordship of a proved medicine; that is, to take treacle and vinegar, and temper them together, and put thereto some running water to allay the vinegar with, and take three or four good spoonfuls fasting, you and all yours, four or five mornings, and fast an hour after it, and by the grace of God ye shall find it shall do great good; and then my good Lord, I beseech our Lord to preserve you and all yours, and send you as good health as I woll myself. This medicine have I proved myself.
Item, the said Lord used at all times of necessity for to take powder of imperial treacle of Gean, vinegar, spring water, and powder of unicorn's horns, timely fasting, and neither to drink nor eat to noon; this is proved for a good preparatif."—f. 103.
"By Dr. Cromer, proved with Katharine Constable.—[Recipe] oleum Ros'an popelionis, et [ounce]1 mellis dispumati, 3½ aquæ plantag. et ros'rum parte unam must'; fiat unguentum et cum pluma columbina tingatur locus delence."
"The king's medicine for the pestilence.—Take a handful of sawge of vertue, a handful of herbe grace, a handful of elder leaves, and a handful of red briar leaves, and stamp them together, and strain them in a fair cloth with a quart of white wine, and then take a quantity of ginger, and mingle them all together, and drink of that medicine a spoonful every day, nine days together, and after nine days ye shall be whole, for the whole year, by the grace of God. And if it fortune that one be sore taken with the plague before he hath drunk of the same medicine, let him take the water of scabies, and a spoonful of betony water, and a quart of fine treacle, and put them all together, and cause the person to drink it, and it shall put out all the venom; and if it fortune that the botch do appear, then take of leaves of briars, elder, and mustard seed, and stamp them all together, and make a plaster thereof, and lay it to the sore, and it shall draw out all the venom, and the person shall be whole."—f. 130.
"A proved medicine against the pestilence, called the philosopher's egg.—Take first an egg and break an hole in one end thereof, and do out the white from the yolk as clean as you can; then take whole saffron and fill the shell therewith by the yolk, then close it at both ends with two half egg shells; then rake it in the embers till it be so hard that you may stamp it to fine powder in a mortar, shell and all; then take as much white mustard seed as the weight of the egg and saffron is and grind it as small as meal; then take the 4th part of an oz. of a dittony root, and as much of turmontell and of crownutes one dram; stamp this three sundry times very fine in a mortar, and then mix them three well together; after that take as a thing most needful the root of angelica and pimpernel, of each one drachm, and make them to powder and mix them with the rest; then compound herewith 4 or 5 grains a quantity of unicorn's horn if it be possible to be gotten, and take so much weight as all these powders come to of fine treacle, and stamp the same with the powders in a mortar, till they be all mixed and hang to the pestle, and then it is perfectly made; put this electuary in glass boxes, and you may keep it 20 or 30 years; the longer the better."—f. 154b.
"How this electuary is to be used, and of the ordering of the patient. Item, when the patient is infected of the pestilence, let him take as soon as he can this electuary or ever it infect the heart: a crown weight of gold, and as much of some treacle, if it be for a man, but if it be for a woman, let them take less, and that must be well broken together. And if the pestilence come with cold, then give him the said electuary with half a cruse of white wine, tempered together; but if it come with heat, then give it him with plantony water, or with well water and vinegar mixt together; and when he hath drunk the same let the patient go to his naked bed, and cover him warm, and let him lie 6, 8, or 10 hours as he is able to endure it, for to sweat, for the more he sweateth the better, for the sickness vadeth with the sweat; but if you cannot sweat, then heat two or three bricks or tiles in the fire and warm (sic) them in a moist linen cloth, and lay them by his sides in the bed, and that shall cause him to sweat; and remember, as the patient sweateth, to wipe away the sweat from his body downward with hot dry cloths, and his sweating being ended you must shift his shirt and all the bedding with fresh warm clothes, using him very warm from any cold taking in the meantime, and let him sit well wrapped by a warm fire while his bed is preparing to be made."
"How the patient shall behave himself when he hath ended his sweating.—Let the keeper of the sick beware of the breath of the patient in his sweat; also let the clothes be well aired and washed; and because he shall be faint and distempered after his sickness, he shall eat no flesh nor drink wine for the space of one week, but let him use this comfortness for the heart;—as conserve of bugloss or red roses, and specially he shall drink three or four days after he hath sweat, morning and evening, three quints of the juice of sorrel, with one oz. of conserve of sorrel, mixed together, and so forth, with all besides that is comfortable for the heart. Also, if one take the quantity of a bean of the said electuary, with some good wine, it shall keep him from the infection of the pestilence."
"The order to make the water.—Take rue, egremony, wormwood, salendine, sage, balm, rosemary, mugwort, dragons, pimpernel, marigolds, fetherfew, burnet, sorrel, and a little roots of elecampane, scraped and shred small, and mince all the herbs small, and as much more rosemary as of any of the other herbs, and you must have them of the like weight; then soak them in the best white wine you can get, three days and three nights, and after wring out the wine from the herbs, and still the herbs by themselves, and after still the wine, and that water is good for agues; but put it not to the water of the herbs, for that water with a little treacle or metridatum shall drive any sickness from the heart."—Addit. MS. 1592.—f. 160.
As through the default "of good ruling and dieting in meat and drink, men fallen often into this sickness, therefore when the pestilence reigneth in country, the man that wol be kept fro that evil, him needeth him to keep fro outrage and excess in meat and eke drink, ne use no baths, ne sweat not too much, for all these openeth the pores of the body, and maketh the venomous airs to enter, and destroyeth the lively spirits in man, and enfeebleth the body; and sovereignly haunting of lechery, for that enfeebleth the kind, and openeth the pores that wicked airs may enter. Also, use little or nought of these: garlick, onions, leeks, or other such meats that bring a man into an unkindly heat. Also, suffer not greatly thirst that time, and if thou thirst greatly look thou drink but measurably to slake thy thirst; and the best drink were cold water, menged with vinegar or tysan." The poison enters at the pores in one of the "cleansing places" of the principal members, i.e. heart, liver, and brain; and unless the patient is bled within 18 hours, it fastens on one place, and casts him into an ague, and maketh a botch in some of the three cleansing places, or near them. "Pricking or flakering of blood" is a sign of the sickness. "If the matter be guided under the armhole, it cometh of the heart, and then bleed on the vein that is called the cardiac, and on the same side that the evil is in." If between the thighs and the body, bleed on the foot, or between the ancle or the heel; or else "be thou ventused on the thighs with a box beside the botch." If it appear in the head or arms, bleed on the vena cephalica in the same arm; or else above the hand between the thumb and next finger; "or else be thou ventused between the shoulders with boxes till the blood be drawn out." The heart should be comforted with cold electuaries, to temper the great heat thereof. Water should be stilled from dittany, scabiose, pimpernel, and tormentil. He should not eat much flesh, but chickens sodden with water, or fresh fish roasted to eat with vinegar. Pottage of almonds is good, and for drink tysan, or in the heat small ale. If he wishes wine, give him vinegar and water; white wine is better than red. A powder of the above herbs with bole armeniac and terra sigillata should be taken in the drink.—Addit. MS. 2320.—f. 16.
"After a prescription for a drink of herbs.—Another for them that are clerks for to say hit every day with a crosse on the forhed. Per signum tau Τ. A peste et fame libera nos Jesu. Hic est titulus triumphans, Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judœorum. Christus venit in pace, et Deus homo factus est Jesus. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen."
"Salve crux Christi. ✠ Salva nos quod de præsenti angustia pestilentiæ salvatrix nostra es. Salve crux Christi, salva nos. 5 paternosters, 5 aves, 1 credo."
"Another very true medicine.—For to say every day at seven parts of your body, 7 paternosters, and 7 Ave Marias, with 1 credo at the last. Ye shal begyn at the ryght syde, under the ryght ere, saying the 'paternoster qui es in cœlis, sanctificetur nomen tuum,' with a cross made there with your thumb, and so say the paternoster full complete, and 1 Ave Maria, and then under the left ear, and then under the left armhole, and then under the left the (thigh ?) hole, and then the last at the heart, with 1 paternoster, Ave Maria, with 1 credo; and these thus said daily, with the grace of God is there no manner drede hym. Quod pro certo probatum est cotidie."—Addit. MS. 6716, f. 98.
"A special medycyn for the pestilence.—In primis, 1 hanfull off marigollen, 1 hanfull off fetherfew, and halffe a hanfull off rewe, and 1 hanfull of burno, a quantyte off dragons off the lewys or the mores, and 1 hanfull off sorrel; and thake alle these erbys toghether, and whasche them in rynnyng whater, and than take a potell off runnyng whater, and sethe the all your erbys in the pottell of water, tylle hyt be sodyn to a quarte, and soo take hit the syke blode warme."—Addit. MS. 113.
"Qui potet jus radicum bis tortæ pimpernellæ, madefelonis, solsequii, absinthii, rutæ seu tanasiæ, in peste, et non vomit, evadet."
"Commixtio aquarum istarum herbarum, viz., diptamni pimpernellæ, gentillæ, tormentillæ, et scabiosæ, at hæc potio in pestilencia est nobilissima, vel de qualibet herba per se."—Ib. 783.
(From Under Treasurer's Declaration Books.)
A.D. 1509–10. From 21 April 24 Hen. VII. to Mich. 2 Hen. VIII., i.e., for one year, one quarter, and 70 days.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Total charge (including 2,090l. 7s. 6d. left in the Exchequer by Hen. VII.) 47,623 2
Of which, paid in ready money 7,657 9
" " in assignations 37,368 19 11½
45,026 9 4 (sic)
And so remains 2,596 12 10¼
Of which, paid in fees 1,028 0
And so remains clear, paid to John Heron for the King's use (fn. 1) 1,568 12 3
A.D. 1510–11. From Mich. 2, to Mich. 3 Hen. VIII.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Total charge 61,230 4 5
Of which, paid in ready money 8,601 10
" " in assignations 48,948 1 11½
57,549 12 5
57,549 12 5
And so remains 3,680 12 0
Of which, paid in fees 387 9
Carried over to next account 3,293 2
A.D. 1511–12. From Mich. 3, to Mich. 4 Hen. VIII.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Total charge 79,790 17 10¼
Of which, paid in ready money 30,242 7 9
" " in bills 35,231 11
65,473 19
65,473 19
And so remains 14,316 18
Of which, paid in fees 45 17
14,271 1
Of which, in the hands of the collectors of the first fifteenth anno 4o 10,251 1
In the hands of the tellers of the same 687 1 5
In ready money 3,332 18 6
14,271 1
Carried to next account 14,271 1
A.D. 1512–13. From Mich. 4, to Mich. 5 Hen. VIII.
Total charge 44,329 4 10
Of which, paid in ready money 9,717 1
" " in bills 29,858 11
39,575 12 10
39,575 12 10
4,753 12 0
Of which, paid in fees 388 17
4,364 14
In ready money 364 14
In bills 4,000 0 0
4,364 14 9 Carried over to
next account, along with a bill of 60l. of John Lewys, one of the officers of the Receipt of Exchequer.
No return from Mich. 5, to Mich. 6. Hen. VIII.
A.D. 1514–15. Mich. 6, to Mich. 7 Hen. VIII.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Total charge 63,059 7
Of which, paid in money 5,788 18 8
" " in bills 43,063 7
48,852 6
48,852 6
And so remains 14,207 1 3
Of which, paid in fees 1,122 13 3
13,084 8 0
In ready money 952 5 10½
In bonds 12,022 2
One bond in the hands of Hen. Everard 50 0 0
One bill in the hands of John Lewis 60 0 0
13,084 8 0
No return for the year Mich. 7, to Mich. 8 Hen. VIII.
A.D. 1516–17. Mich. 8, to Mich. 9 Hen. VIII.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Total charge 52,364 15
Of which, paid in money 5,356 3 2
" " in bills 28,890 1 10
34,246 5 0
34,246 5 0
And so remains 18,118 10
Of which, paid in fees 205 4
In the hands of the tellers 86 18 11¾
In 37 obligations on John Hasilwod 6,090 13
Forty obligations of the same 11,675 13 2
A bill of John Lewis 60 0 0
18,118 10
No return for Mich. 9, to Mich, 10 Hen. VIII.


  • 1. These sums are always carried on to next account.